Congress won't rescue postal service as it defaults on health care benefits

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) also pointed a finger at House Republicans Wednesday. "To manufacture yet another crisis, the Republican leadership refused to allow consideration of postal reform legislation that passed the Senate with a strong bipartisan majority months ago and that would have easily prevented a default," Pelosi said in a statement. "Instead, Republicans have shown no interest in offering meaningful solutions-- including a path to address the Postal Service's unique requirement to prepay retiree health benefits."

But Republicans say the House bill is still on the table and leaders are actively working on it.

"While timing for the consideration of postal reform legislation has not been set, the legislation has the necessary support,"Ali Ahmad, Communications Adviser for the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said in a statement to Yahoo News Wednesday. Ahmad said Issa remains committed to modifying the legislation to ensure that "meaningful reforms not only win House approval, but are ultimately signed into law by the President."

The Republican bill allows for more drastic and immediate cuts, such as switching to five day delivery, cluster box instead of door-to-door delivery, more liberal branch closings and the renegotiation of labor contracts.

As for the current defaults, select House Republicans say it's just more of the same from the failing entity.

"The default by the Postal Service on its obligation to its own employees and retirees follows decades of mismanagement, and a willful blindness to fundamental changes in America's use of mail," Issa said in a statement Tuesday. "The Postal Service continues to fail to do all it can under current law to cut costs."

The House plans to begin recess at the end of this week through the Labor Day holiday, although some congressional leaders have threatened to keep lawmakers in town to finish select business. This would push potential action on the House postal reform bill into the fall. Some lawmakers believe the bill won't come up until the lame duck session or even later.

Saving the postal service is a tricky issue for a number of lawmakers. Many rural voters, seniors and others rely on the postal service, forcing lawmakers who advocate fiscal conservatism to potentially displease some of their constituents by taking sides on government intervention for the postal service.

The postal service's future is often brought up on the campaign trail and at forums and town halls, appearing from time to time in campaign literature.

"Rehberg refuses to explain why he doesn't support Montana's post offices," the campaign for Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester wrote Tuesday of Republican opponent Rep. Denny Rehberg. "His failure of leadership may result in post office closures and service cuts across Montana."

In Missouri, the campaign of Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill cast her Republican opponents in July as threats to the future of the postal service.

" And while Claire worked across the aisle to protect Missouri's rural post offices, [Rep. Todd] Akin, [former state treasurer Sarah] Steelman and [businessman John] Brunner all said they would prefer to let the U.S. Postal Service go bankrupt and privatize its services instead," Spokesman Erik Dorey wrote in a press release.

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